Team:UC Davis/Human Practices

Cyantific: UC Davis iGEM 2016

Human Practices: Overview

Cyantific has prioritized considering possible hard and soft consequences of this emerging technology. The traits and quality of food are central to our livelihood, and our modern society has embraced color enhanced food products. Our goal is to understand how our dye interacts with the meta-market considerations of stakeholders such as investors, food companies, and big agriculture scientists while also seeking to understand how a food conscious public evaluates genetically modified products and attributes value to labels such as “natural.”

In conducting this survey, we filed with the Institutional Review Board at UC Davis to ensure that best practices were observed for interventions with human subjects. Since this step is often absent from iGEM surveys, we created a guide to IRB review, why it represents an international standard and a crucial part of American experimentation law, and what iGEM teams can do to produce ethical, effective, and publishable survey results.

What is at stake within our project is how the existence of binary categories such as natural and artificial or genetically modified and organic have come to inhabit effectively semantic boundaries. Though these categories are critical for all biological engineered products, they take a specific role within this project—defining the parameters of our enterprise from its’ inception and creating the social and economic utility of our work.

Here we describe safety from the ground up within our constructs, and analyze both biochemical and sociological dietetic risks within our product.

We were honored to be selected for a SYNENERGENE collaboration, and are excited to present our application and techno-moral scenarios.

We have created a guide to be used as a tool for future iGEM teams conducting surveys to ensure that the data produced does not violate human experimentation rights and can be used in future research. One ongoing error in iGEM surveys is a lack of Institutional Review.
This opens the surveys up to two risks:
1) that they will visit more than minimal risk on participants and
2) that they will not be able to publish data from their findings.

In order to prevent the negative externalities of iGEM human practices and ensure that the survey work can reach its highest potential, please take a look at our Institutional Review Board guide!

From the empirical data we have collected from our stakeholder interviews and IRB reviewed survey, as well as in depth governmental and science policy research, we have some policy considerations that we would like to share.

iGEM historically offers biological engineering students with opportunities to expand the field of synthetic biology firsthand. Our team saw this as an occasion to include a Science and Technology Studies student to explore the forefront of her field as well. These are the journeys of a purely social studies of science student integrated into an iGEM team from the very first meeting